In this issue:
- Housing prices off the boil
- Planning for the future of a special needs child
- Getting into the great outdoors
October is here, which means the holiday long weekends are behind us as we enter the final stretch towards Christmas. It’s traditionally a busy time for households and on the business and economic scene, as we prepare for the end of another year.
As expected, the US Federal Reserve lifted interest rates for the 8th time in September, by 0.25 per cent to a target range of 2.0-2.5 per cent. The US economy is growing strongly, with growth of 3.1 per cent forecast for 2018, full employment and inflation on target at 2 per cent. The Fed forecasts one more rate rise this year and three in 2019. Meanwhile, Australia’s cash rate remains at an historic low of 1.5 per cent. The growing differential between local and US rates pushed the Aussie dollar lower in September, down more than 1 per cent to around US72.5 cents.
Overall, our economy is in good shape. Australia’s record economic expansion is in its 28th year, with growth up 0.9 per cent in the June quarter, 3.4 per cent on an annual basis, the strongest in 6 years. The Budget deficit fell to $10.1 billion in 2017-18, the smallest in a decade, with more Australians in jobs and record company profits boosting tax revenues and reducing the welfare bill. Unemployment was steady at 5.3 per cent in August. Consumer and business confidence continue to fluctuate on political uncertainty; the ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence index fell 0.7 per cent from a 5-week high to 117.2 in late September. The NAB Business Confidence index fell from 7 points to a 25-month low of 4.4 points in August.
The Australian housing market appears to have reached a turning point, with prices falling 2.2 per cent since peaking in September 2017. This is welcome news for first home buyers; not so much for sellers and investors. Though before you make any property decisions, it’s important to look beyond the national figures…read more
While estate planning is essential for any parent, it takes on additional significance for the parents of a child with special needs. One of your biggest concerns is probably planning for their future care when you are no longer there to look after them…read more
Despite our intrepid image, Australia is an incredibly urbanised country by world standards. The impact of this is resulting in increased rates of stress, depression and obesity. The antidote to all this is simple…read more